What if you could predict which days you’d feel your most focused, energetic, and creative? What if you knew exactly which days you’re prone to higher levels of anxiety and stress? How would you feel and what could you accomplish if you felt totally tuned in and in sync with your body and mind?
Did you know that our monthly cycles have four distinct phases that impact our moods, energy levels, and mental sharpness (thanks hormones!). Lucky for us, these phases are quite predictable and can teach us SO much about ourselves. That’s where cycle syncing comes in. Cycle syncing is the idea that we can align our exercise, work, self-care, and what we eat with our menstrual cycle to feel more in sync with our body’s natural rhythms. Cool right!?
In this post, I’m sharing what I’ve learned about the phases of the cycle and a few tips on how to cycle sync your life. Note that cycle syncing works best for women who are not on hormonal birth control because your hormones are not being regulated. Additionally, this content is not a substitution for professional medical advice. I am offering ideas and education based on my own personal experience.
My Experience with Cycle Syncing
For those of us that had a typical public school education on periods, cycle syncing seems a little woo-woo, right? I never paid much attention to my cycle until I started working with a holistic nutrition coach, Stephanie Burg. Stephanie also taught a workshop about cycle syncing that, though I felt a bit self-conscious going, totally enlightened me.
I tinkered with cycle syncing after Stephanie’s workshop, but I didn’t fully start practicing it until about a year later. I listened to a fascinating episode on Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast featuring Claire Baker, a menstrual cycle educator and period coach (yes, there is such a thing!). Claire compared each phase of the cycle to seasons of the year, and talked about the distinct hormonal shifts in each phase. Claire’s teachings (she kills it over on Instagram with her daily cycle updates) make me feel like I can harness this inner superpower I never knew I had!
Ever since I listened to Jenna’s podcast episode with Claire, I started tracking and journaling my cycle. I now have over a year of data, and I can predict how I’ll most likely be feeling on any given day of my cycle. For example, I know that on Day 18 or 19 of my cycle, my hormones start shifting and I feel a significant drop in energy. This is such good self-knowledge when scheduling in exercise, social engagements, and work tasks!
Seasons of the Cycle
If you want to start cycle syncing your life, learning about the four phases is a great place to start. A typical 28-day cycle is divided into four phases:
Winter (Days 1-6 of your cycle // Menstruation)
Hormonal happenings: Your winter phase is your period. Day 1 is your first day of full bleeding. Your hormones are at their lowest levels of the entire cycle here. Because of this, you’ll likely be at your lowest energy levels and crave rest, alone time, and going inward.
Self-care: Winter is a time for retreating and prioritize self-care as much as possible. Go gently with exercise, sleep more, and let go. It’s a time to push the restart button and set intentions for the new cycle you just began.
Social: You likely won’t feel like a social butterfly in this phase. If you do see people, you may want to surround yourself with people who don’t drain your energy. Try taking a break from social media during your winter as well. Because winter is a time for going inward, comparing yourself to others on social media can be disruptive.
Work: Most of us don’t have the luxury of fully retreating while we’re on our periods, so the key with work is to prioritize. Ask yourself, what items are absolutely essential to get done in the next few days? How can you take care of yourself and slow down a bit in your winter, even if you have to work and take care of your normal responsibilities?
Things to be mindful of: If you don’t allow yourself to slow down, go inward, and take time for yourself in your winter, your spring and summer phases can easily feel overwhelming. If you can be intentional about taking even 10 minutes a day during your winter to rest, it will make a world of difference later in your cycle.
Spring (Days 7-13 of your cycle // Follicular Phase)
Hormonal happenings: The hormone oestrogen is steadily increasing and preparing for ovulation in your summer phase. We get a bit of a testosterone boost before summer that keeps us feeling strong and energetic.
Self-care: Spring is all about renewed energy and planting seeds in all areas of your life. It’s a great time to re-commit to past goals and intentions. Spring is also the perfect time for a spa night and refreshing your living space.
Social: You’ll likely start to feel a pull to the outside world again after your period. Getting together with friends and loved ones feels easier. Because oestrogen is rising in this phase, you’ll be feeling more energetic and excited to re-join those around you.
Work: Spring is the perfect time to start new projects or take actions on intentions and goals you may have set in your winter phase. Take advantage of your renewed sense of optimism and enthusiasm. Experiment with new ideas and be curious and open to learning new things.
Things to be mindful of: It can be tempting to want to do all the things when you feel your energy return after your winter phase, but it’s important to be mindful of not doing too much, too soon. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burned out here.
Summer (Days 14-21 of your cycle // Ovulation)
Hormonal happenings: Ovulation occurs somewhere between days 12-16. Estrogen peaks and you also have an extra boost of testosterone. Your body wants to make a baby! Progesterone starts increasing shortly after ovulation.
Self-care: You’ll likely feel like superwoman at this point in your cycle! Thanks to your peak of estrogen and testosterone, you’ll have more stamina, energy, and confidence. Positive self-talk is easier during your summer phase and you’ll feel more resilient. Doing creative projects and expressing your love and appreciation for loved ones at this point in the cycle can be life-giving!
Social: Hello, social butterfly! Even if you’re an introvert, it’s easier to be around people at this point in your cycle and you’ll probably crave it. You’ll likely be more patient with others and be more generous with your time and energy as well.
Work: Summer is a great time to bring new projects into the world and be seen. You’ll find it easier to express your ideas and your extra confidence boost can help with presentations, launches, and leading teams.
Things to be mindful of: Use your extra summer energy to prepare for your upcoming autumn season. You could prepare meals ahead and time and start asking for help with things around the house. You’ll thank yourself when you aren’t feeling as energetic in your autumn and winter phases.
Autumn (Days 22-28 of your cycle // Luteal Phase)
Hormonal happenings: Autumn is your typical “PMS” time, but it doesn’t have to hold all of those negative connotations. Once our body knows we’re not pregnant, estrogen and progesterone plunge. This drop causes our lower energy and those emotions!
Self-care: Self-care is essential in your autumn phase. Try journaling about the emotions that come up this week. It can be helpful to write about what’s bothering you right now and return to these items when you have more energy to take action on them in your spring phase. Focus on your positive self-talk.
Social: You may want to spend more time alone this week. You’ll likely feel less patient with others and want to direct your energy inward instead.
Work: Your autumn phase is a great time for editing and refining projects you brought to life in your spring and summer phases. Take advantage of your more discerning eye at this point in the cycle and give your projects a fresh look.
Things to be mindful of: It’s easy to get burned out in your autumn phase if you don’t let yourself lean into your energy shift. It can be frustrating to not feel as “capable” as you did last week. Surrender to the slow-down!
Start Cycle Syncing Your Life
If you start tracking how you’re feeling each day of your cycle, soon you’ll have a treasure trove of valuable information. There is so much more to dig into when you discover the nuances of your own cycle. If your mind is blown and you’re ready to start cycle syncing, try these tips on beginning to track your cycle:
- Dig into Claire Baker’s work. Check out Claire’s e-book Adore Your Cycle. It’s PACKED with tangible, easy to understand information, tools, self-care ideas, and stories. I’ve found it essential in understanding each phase of my cycle and how I can implement these ideas into my cycle syncing.
- Use an app like Clue. This is the easiest way to get up and running with cycle syncing. An app isn’t foolproof, but it will help you keep track of what day you’re on and any symptoms you’re feeling.
- Journal. Each day, write which cycle day you’re on at the top of the page. Ask yourself how you’re feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically. What did you do for self-care today? Your journal will be a treasure trove of valuable information when you look back at past cycles.